Thursday, May 25, 2017

SB 42 Passes Senate; Reinstates Appropriation Retiree Healthcare (from the Illinois Retired Teachers Association)

(May 24, 2017 - SPRINGFIELD, IL) - Members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association (IRTA) are praising lawmakers for not passing another unconstitutional measure aimed at diminishing benefits for retired teachers. 

The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday on a bill that provides contributing funding for the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program (T.R.I.P.). 

“It is unimaginable to think what retired teachers and families would endure if the continuing appropriation was eviscerated,” IRTA President Dave Davison said.  “We continue to sound the alarm that it would be catastrophic for retired educators.”

Senate Bill 42, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar, was amended and passed on Tuesday to reinstate the continuing appropriation for T.R.I.P. in state statute. The bill when originally proposed last week, did not include the provision to sustain the T.R.I.P. continuing appropriation.

“IRTA members and their families spoke loudly and firmly that promised healthcare benefits cannot be diminished,” Mary Shaw, IRTA Governmental Affairs Director said. “Thousands of our members contacted their senators when this bill was originally proposed, and today we know that legislators heard the message.”

The IRTA has been advised by Tabet, DiVito & Rothstein LLC that, “Retired Illinois educators’ health insurance benefits are protected by the Pension Protection Clause for the reasons set forth in Kanerva v. Weems.” 

“The IRTA believes that not funding T.R.I.P. is not only unfair, it is unconstitutional,” IRTA Executive Director Jim Bachman said.  “The IRTA will protect and defend the benefits promised to retired educators. “

In 2015, the IRTA successfully defended an unconstitutional assault on pension benefits that were put in place by then Governor Quinn when he signed Senate Bill 1 into law. On May 8, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's 2013 pension reform law, Senate Bill 1, upholding a lower court ruling that it violated the state constitution under the pension protection clause. The bill now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

1 comment:

  1. 2014 Kanerva v. Weems:

    The Pension Protection Clause makes it “clear that if something qualifies as a benefit of the enforceable contractual relationship resulting from membership in one of the State’s pension or retirement systems, it cannot be diminished or impaired… [The State of Illinois] may not rewrite the Pension Protection Clause to include restrictions and limitations that the drafters did not express and the citizens of Illinois did not approve... [P]ension benefits are insulated from diminishment or impairment by the General Assembly…” (Kanerva, 2014 IL 115811, 38, 41, 48).